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How Exercise Benefits People with Type 2 Diabetes

How Exercise Benefits People with Type 2 Diabetes

For people with type 2 diabetes, it is so important to avoid long-term health complications. One of the best ways to do so is by implementing a regular exercise routine into their daily schedule. Doing so can help prevent many unwanted symptoms and health problems from damaging the body and developing into more serious conditions. 

This includes problems with the eyes that may result from diabetes, such as glaucoma and other forms of diabetic eye disease. Exercising helps lower blood glucose levels and increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin. These great benefits make it less likely that the blood vessels in the sensitive eye area will get damaged and lead to vision problems. 

Benefits of Exercise for Diabetics

Exercising is critical for diabetics looking to get control over their condition. The benefits are numerous and include the following:

  • Reduced levels of bad cholesterol
  • Higher levels of good cholesterol
  • Stronger muscles
  • Increased bone strength
  • Healthier blood pressure levels
  • More manageable body weight 

All kinds of exercise can help diabetics reduce their HbA1c levels regardless of their eating habits or racial makeup. This includes forms of aerobic exercise such as walking and resistance training such as lifting weights. Both of these exercise forms help improve insulin resistance in people that tend to avoid being active on a regular basis. It’s even more beneficial for diabetics to incorporate both types into their daily lives instead of just choosing one. 

If you have diabetes and aren’t used to exercise, walking can be a good way to start becoming more active. Even just thirty minutes of walking, four times a week, can help reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease. In fact, women that walked for four hours a week could reduce their risk by up to 40%. 

Exercising after eating is especially beneficial for diabetics as this is when blood glucose levels are at their highest. Diabetics should test their blood sugar levels before exercising to avoid hypoglycemia. Checking blood sugar after a strenuous workout is also a good idea. For diabetics, exercising when blood sugar is too high (over 250) is not a good idea as it can make these levels rise even more. 

Risks of Not Exercising Enough for Diabetics

Although getting into the habit of exercising and being active can be difficult, it is well worth the effort to do so. In fact, not exercising regularly can bring many negative side effects to diabetics that are already at risk for different health complications. 

People with type 2 diabetes are already at an elevated risk for heart disease than those without the condition. Elevated levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, and obesity only add to this risk. Cardiovascular fitness is important for diabetic individuals and those that choose to avoid it are electing to elevate their risk of death from all causes. 

Exercise is a great way to lower blood sugar levels and without it, a diabetic person will have higher levels than they would otherwise. Research has shown that high A1C levels can cause damage to blood vessels, including those in the eye, and lead to retinal damage. If left unchecked, these problems can lead to severe vision loss and even blindness. 


As you can see, exercise brings so many incredible benefits to people suffering from type 2 diabetes. From helping control blood sugar levels to reducing high blood pressure levels, exercise is one of the most valuable tools a diabetic individual has to stay as healthy as possible and avoid long-term health complications. If you are not used to being active, start off by going for a short walk and then extending the time that you are active as time goes on. Doing so will help you prevent many health complications that come with type 2 diabetes.